BAASE in PLACE: June 22-28 2020

BAASE in PLACE: The Bay Area Axis Syllabus Exchange ONLINE!

-BAASE in PLACE is an online offering to the community of somatic learners who wish to dive into the evolving content of the Axis Syllabus, and develop their self practice while witnessing one another through the virtual medium.

  • This year we will be looking at the Nervous System and the Axis Syllabus, Fascia and Improvisation, and as always we will be dancing.
  • Our list of teachers is Kevin O’Connor, and Ruth Douthwright, Daniel Davis, Kristen Greco, Phoenicia Pettyjohn and Nuria Bowart.
  • This year at BAASE we have added a performance night: June 26th 5-7pm, all participants are invited to submit, 3 min. maximum length
  • Please check Axis Syllabus WEST for more details to come.
  • Please email with any questions

BAASE in PLACE 2020 Online Schedule:

The structure is a morning session and an early evening session; all PST. Assignments and smaller groups will be created to support the learning as well. We will have an opening circle Monday, an anatomy potluck on Wednesday, and a performance offering on Friday (there is an invitation for all participants to contribute to the performance night, something up to 3min in length, video or live).


Monday June 22nd

  • 9:30-11am Welcome circle and ALL teacher offering (all)
  • 5-6:30pm Improvising within Constraints (Kevin and Ruth)

Tuesday June 23rd

  • 10-11:30am Improvising with Constraints (Kevin and Ruth)
  • 5-6pm Future Feet (Phoenicia Pettyjohn)

Wednesday June 24th

  • 10-11:30am Improvising with Constraints (Kevin and Ruth)
  • 5-6:30pm Anatomy Potluck (Nuria Bowart)

Thursday June 25th

  • 10-11:30am Improvising with Constraints (Kevin and Ruth)
  • 5-6pm Future Feet (Phoenicia Pettyjohn)

Friday June 26th

  • 10-11:30am Improvising with Constraints (Kevin and Ruth)
  • 5-7pm Performance Salon (all)

Saturday June 27th

  • 10-11:30 Learning Curves: AS and the Nervous System (Kristen and Daniel)
  • 4:30-6pm Learning Curves: AS and the Nervous System(Kristen and Daniel)

Sunday June 28th

  • 10-11:30 Learning Curves: AS and the Nervous System (Kristen and Daniel)
  • 4:30-5:30 Learning Curves: AS and the Nervous System (Kristen and Daniel)
  • 5:30-6:30 Closing circle (all)

Prices are set on a sliding scale for full and partial participation. $250-110.


Class Descriptions and Bios:

Improvising within Constraints (Monday - Friday mornings except Monday

How might we move within the constraints of our bodies, homes and relations during this particular time?  Improvisation for dancer and theorist Danielle Goldman is not a way to gain freedom from structure or to break all boundaries; it is in fact the learned ability to recognize constraints and to explore the possibilities for movement within them. Improvisation helps one see how to move within those bounds, even as the bounds shift and change in the moment.  In this class we will move and improvise within the constraints of our particular bodies, the rooms we inhabit and the society we live in.  We will dance between theory and practice through reading parts of “I Want to Be Ready: Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom” by Danielly Goldman and moving with it.  We will also move with our gooey bodies and play with becoming tender (tender: has the root word tan, from sanskrit, meaning to stretch and reach into many while softening and strengthening).  We will pay particular attention to how constraints are always unevenly distributed.  Bodies are always already caught in uneven and contradictory matrices of support and negation.  We ask, how might attending to constraints within and alongside bodies open up relational potentials?

Ruth Douthwright is a dance artist and educator, Axis Syllabus teacher 2004, Graduate of EDCM (Montreal '97) with parallel studies in BMC, Continuum, Voice and Movement Studies.  Continued studies at Laban (UK) and The Kyoto Arts Centre (Japan). 2001-08 Company artist with l'inattendu compagnie (Belgium), ABCDC (France), Dasein Dance (Ontario), Strange Strangers (Ontario) - Billy Douthwright & Kevin O’Connor and PDA public displays of art London, ON. In her current work as Artist In Residence with the London Arts Council, Ruth developed and delivered curriculum for elementary and secondary schools, programming for a wide range of abilities and disabilities for - Connecting through Art in Dementia Care, Recovery Through Creative Arts Program at McCormick Home, L'arche and Parkwood Institute Mental Health Services.

Kevin O’Connor is a multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist and installation artist from Ontario, Canada and now based in the Bay area. He is involved in a decade-long artistic collective exploring participatory de-colonizing performances within polluted watersheds in Ontario. Over the last few years, he has worked with NAKA dance in Oakland, Shakiri and Skywatchers in the Bay Area, Oncogrrrls feminist art collective in Spain, and collaborated with Inuit hunter and designer Paulette Metuq on a project in Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. He has been learning with the Axis Syllabus community for over a decade and is a biodynamic Craniosacral practitioner. He completed an MFA in choreography and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in performance studies at UC Davis. He is working at the intersection of arts, sciences, practice-as-research and improvisation theory and practice. His research examines anatomies, body performance capacities, interventions and imaginations in relation to science studies, including the material-bio-cultural tissue called fascia.

Future feet (Tuesday and Thursday 5-6pm)

In this moment, a class in relation to pattern and sensing. We will improvise through prompts and pathways, anatomical and developmental theory. Taking time to slow down and consider moments of technique or strategy that may inform our moving selves now and imagine options for our future dances.

Bio: Phoenicia Pettyjohn is a performer and dance teaching artist based in San Francisco. She is a teaching artist with the San Francisco Ballet Dance in Schools and Communities Program (DISC) which brings dance to communities throughout SF. She has studied extensively with Luna Dance Institute in the field of creative based dance pedagogy. She has studied the Axis Syllabus for 13 years and has been a certified teacher of the the Axis Syllabus since 2015.

Learning Curves: AS and the Autonomic Nervous System (Sat and Sunday, 10-11:30am, 4:30-6pm)

How do we create coherence as we learn? What happens in the nervous system when we dance? There is a wealth of information in the Axis Syllabus (AS) learning community that aligns with current research about supporting resilience and choice in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There is also vast unarticulated terrain around how autonomic reflexes and patterns shape our physical learning and movement integration. In this workshop we will explore how understandings from Polyvagal theory and other current ANS research play into our movement practice. What is our animal body doing when we’re doing what we’re doing? How do fight, flight, and freeze responses support and impede our musculo-skeletal coordination? How can we increase our capacity to feel safe and curious in unknown physical experiences? We’ll explore the terrain from orientation to disorientation and back again, expanding our range and deepening our capacity as we go. We’ll enter through explorations of overcurves & undercurves, intrinsic & global muscles, myofascial holding patterns and tone -  cycling through periods of activity and periods of self reflection, integration, and rest.

Photo by:Ana Maynard

Photo by Ana Maynard


Daniel Bear Davis (MFA) is an interdisciplinary performance maker, movement educator, and Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner dedicated to support humans to step into greater aliveness and resilience so we can more fully inhabit the details of our lived experience. He has taught Axis Syllabus, Contact Improvisation, Composition, and Acrobatic Stilts in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and throughout North America. Daniel was certified as an Axis Syllabus teacher in 2013. Daniel has brought understandings from Somatic Experiencing® into consistent dialogue with his performance work.

dance website:,

therapeutic website:

Kristen Greco does artistic and somatic work that centers around unwinding the impact of personal and collective trauma, orienting towards a felt sense of embodiment, choice, and aliveness. Kristen teaches at the Luminous Awareness Institute integrating her experiential research in neurophysiology, somatics, and trauma resolution into the curriculum. She is a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner ®  & Advanced Luminous Practitioner, both practices which bring us into contact with the unique aspects of our true nature.  She has a background in OrthoBionomy ®, CranioSacral Therapy, and Neuromuscular Reprogramming. Kristen has worked extensively as a director and touring performing artist teaching contact improvisation, physical theater, acrobatic stiltwork, and somatics. She has been deeply engaged with the Axis Syllabus learning community for the last decade. In partnership with Daniel Bear Davis, she researched applications of AS Docking Zones to acrobatic stilts.

Anatomy Potluck

You heard it right, eating and studying anatomy.  This is a time to informally gather and to chat about Anatomy. Questions can be offered before or during the session. Nuria will do her best to present context and relevant content for the weeks studies.

Nuria Bowart is a Movement Educator, Rolfer, Performing Artist and Capoeirista. Sheis a Contramestra of Capoeira and a Rolfer for more than 20 years. Nuria is a teacher and Certifier of the Axis Syllabus. She performs and teaches nationally and internationally and this will be the third year that she produces this event BAASE.